NASA exhibit lands at ScienceWorks

Forty years ago, Neil Armstrong set foot on the surface of the moon. Now, Ashland residents have a chance to walk in his footsteps.

Ashland's ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum is celebrating the 40th anniversary of man's first walk on the moon by welcoming the NASA Exploration Experience, an interactive, education-based exploration exhibit, coming to ScienceWorks Sept. 18-20.

NASA Exploration Experience is a traveling exhibit for children and teenagers, designed to educate, entertain and inspire by recounting the history of American space travel. The exhibit features a number of interactive learning and play stations, geared toward sparking an interest in science and space travel among schoolchildren.

"ScienceWorks is recognizing NASA's many accomplishments by creating an array of interactive activities, talks and parties to celebrate NASA landing right here in our region," said ScienceWorks Executive Director Mark DiRienzo.

An official NASA mobile vehicle will be featured in the exhibit. Inside is a simulated space play-environment for kids, previewing the future of human life on the moon. They can explore the history of previous shuttle launches, learn how to pursue a career in NASA and even hold authentic moon rocks.

Lego fans can experiment with cutting-edge robot technology, incorporated into the popular children's building toy. Other activity stations are accompanied by audio and video effects, creating an outer space experience to stimulate all senses.

"We're excited to give visitors a first-hand look at a not-too-distant future on the moon's surface," DiRienzo said.

Sixth- through eighth-grade students are invited to explore the NASA trailer as part of a number of after-school activities on Sept. 18. Many activities focus on what future life and work in outer space will look like.

Later activities Friday include teacher training workshops sponsored by NASA and Southern Oregon University. Saturday will be capped by an "Astronaut's Ball," complete with a live DJ, refreshments and a night of stargazing. DiRienzo encouraged all members of the public to attend.

"We are so fortunate to welcome this traveling exhibit to the Rogue Valley for the first time," he said.

Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20. Admission is $5 for children ages 2-12 and seniors 65 and over, and $7.50 for teenagers and adults. ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum is located at 1500 E. Main St. across from Ashland Middle School.

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